What you heard so far are the svaradevatā kritīs (compositions in praise of the deities of each musical note). There are also 13 svarākṣara kritīs (where deeply meaningful lyrics are made up only of the seven notes of music) all composed in praise of Mother Goddess. Many great scholars including the Veena maestro Sri Chitti Babu as well as his Guru tried to create a 14th composition but have not been successful. There is excellent literature in these compositions. The lyrics in these compositions are made of only the 7 musical notes. For example, a line may say “manini pada dasa”. Each letter is the pure musical note (ma, ni, ni, pa, da, sa). In these compositions, there cannot be any sounds or letters other than the seven notes – not even an anusvara (ṃ - a pure nasal sound often used in Indic scripts). Some great scholars conducted much research and wrote the meaning of these compositions since they were searching for answers to questions such as, “Why did Swamiji sing this way? How is he praising Mother Goddess?” Those 13 compositions are a wonder. Mother Goddess, not Swamiji composed these songs during Navaratri. Otherwise, this would not be possible. With exceptional scholarliness, may be one or two such compositions would be possible for a rare scholar. It is very difficult to find the words to write these songs (since you can only use a combination of musical notes for lyrics). The same is the case with Tora bhajans. Pujya Jayalakshmi Mata would sing Tora bhajans – dvitora, tritora, caturtora, pancatora, vajratora and so on. If you connected the letters in the composition in a certain fixed pattern, a beautiful meaning would emerge out of that pattern. Those are difficult to sing as well. It is hard to very hard to set them to tune. One day, the will be set to tune and sung. Let those tunes come to those who deserve to sing those divine compositions. All these compositions are in praise of Mother Goddess.
These compositions are not meant just for singing as a pastime. Hari Katha (story of the Lord communicated with song, dance, drama, philosophy – often by a solo artist) is often referred to as a pastime (hari katha kālakṣepam). That is wrong. Time is extremely precious. How can you just let it pass? We are giving value to time by listening to Hari Katha discourses. Hanging out in a park, watching movies, talking endlessly over coffee, sitting on the couch while watching TV and chatting, playing games such as carroms and video games, going out for a fun drive are all pastimes. But Hari Katha is not a pastime. It is an important activity. That is what gives us the bank balance in life’s journey. We are collecting good fortune listening to Hari Katha discourses. What do you collect when you watch movies? Neither luck nor good merit. You only waste time and money. Your intellect is also corrupted. You watch TV for three hours and you will begin to see TVs everywhere. Your gaze will be like than of an owl. Similar is the case with those drowned in books. You look dazed. You will not be able to speak properly either. You look like a semi-lunatic. There is no happiness in their face. Their focus is entirely on books. I refer to them as insects – TV insects and book insects. I am not asking you not to read. You need to read for knowledge and for your academics. But reading novels and stories woven from imagination does more harm than good. You call that literature? It is okay to read useful books, but there are more useless books than useful ones. We get so immersed in those useless stories that we laugh, cry and fight based on the stories in those books. We go through depressions and disappointments and have no happiness at home because of them. We need to discover medicines to treat such conditions.
So, we are not passing or biding time with good divine activities. We are instead accumulating time. Do not loosely refer to noble activities as pastimes. Bhajans, playing a musical instrument etc. are not pastimes. They are skills. Dance as an art form is not a pastime. It is a skill. Watching movies is a pastime. Sitting in the park to kill time is a pastime. Going out for a drive is a pastime. Going to Dallas (to the Hanuman temple) is a journey, not a pastime. But driving just for fun is pastime. You make some coffee, turn on the TV and talk endlessly. You talk about India, Indian politics, political parties etc. That is a waste of time. Or, you talk about someone else’s history or background. You talk about how their daughter eloped with and married someone from another country. Why do you care? Your daughter will elope with someone from another religion. First, take care of your story at home. Do not criticize others for eating meat. You are also eating animal products unbeknownst to you. So, first look at yourself. Do not judge and hurt others. They are like us too. They are also struggling like us. They are not always able to control the things happening to them. One day, those things will happen to you as well. You will also fail in your life sometimes. So, first fix your own situation. Be happy. Accumulate what is really worth.
Houston devotees arranged the programs very well. It was their dream to have Swamiji visit. Every time they asked me to visit, I would put it off to the following year. They were just happy that Swamiji promised to visit the following year.
A small story form Bhagavatam comes to mind. Dhruva had set out to have Darshan of Lord Vishnu. Dhruva was a tiny lad of barely 8 years of age. On his way, he runs into Sage Narada. The Sage asks him why he is so sure he would have vision of Lord Vishnu. Dhruva says that his mother asked him to sit on the Lord’s lap. So, he was sure the Lord would give him Darshan and let him sit on His lap. In addition, his father and his step mother too asked him to sit on the Lord’s lap. Sage Narada then gives him Narayana mantra saying, “You have good devotion, you are powerful. Chant the Narayana mantra and you will attain the Lord”. Sage Narada then describes what Lord Vishnu looks like, because little Dhruva did not know. The sage describes Lord Vishnu as the radiant one with yellow robes, a conch, discus, mace and lotus in his four hands and adorning Mother Goddess in his heart.
Dhruva then resumes his journey to undertake penance and, on his way, runs into an elderly couple who were probably over 100 years old. The old couple approach Dhruva requesting him to ask Lord Vishnu when they would beget children. See, desires do not die. I told many people not to ask for children. The Bhagavatam says that if you do not have any children, it means you did not commit sins. Children are born to you to lift you out of your sins. Children are the ones to put you to hell and they are the ones to uplift you as well. So, instead of asking for children, be happy you do not have any. You can lead your life with a lot of freedom. Otherwise, you will be left constantly hankering after children, cleaning after them, worrying about them and the grandchildren and constantly wiping the young grandchildren clean. You clean after one child for a year and a new baby is ready to clean up after, next year. Of course, you should have a lot of children. Have 10-12 children. Hindus are dwindling in population. Please have more children. You can have several children – one walking with you, one crawling, one that you carry in your arms, one that you carry in your womb, one in the cradle and one that your husband is taking care of.
The Devi Bhagavatam too says that when one does not have children, it means that the couple did not commit sins. That is guaranteed. That is why those couples are happy. That is the right situation for you to accumulate good merit to attain higher worlds. Do not wait for children to do something for you. You can take care of yourself. Once upon a time, everyone wanted kids. Nowadays, that is not the case. Those who study the scriptures will have no interest in having children.
As Dhruva continues further on his journey, he runs into an aged hermit who is undertaking penance seated under a mature Babul tree (Acacia Arabica). The tree bears many millions of tiny leaves. This hermit was very old – probably over 600 years old. People lived that long back then. He requests Dhruva to ask the Lord when he would attain liberation. Dhruva promises to do so and continues on his journey.
Dhruva undertakes severe penance to please Lord Vishnu. The Lord appears to Dhruva who refuses to admit that the one in front of him is the Lord Himself, because the Lord’s appearance did not match Sage Narada’s description. The Lord goes back and reappears to Dhruva in the form that Sage Narada described. Dhruva devotionally prostrates to Lord Vishu. The Lord prompts Dhruva to ask for whatever he wants. Dhruva wants to sing praises of the Lord, but says that he does not know how to. The Lord writes on Dhruva’s tongue spurring glorious praises of the Lord in Dhruva’s voice. The young Dhruva then wishes to sit on the Lord’s lap, and the Lord lovingly lets him.
Dhruva then asks the Lord the two questions that he was asked by the aged couple and by the hermit. The Lord says that the old couple would beget children soon. As for the hermit, the Lord says that the hermit would attain liberation in as many years as the number of leaves that the Babul tree shed in a hundred seasons, plus the number of leaves that appear on the tree in those hundred seasons.
On his way back, Dhruva informs the aged couple that they would have children soon. Dhruva had difficulty informing the hermit about the Lord’s response to question. He was afraid of hurting the old man’s feelings. Upon prodding by the hermit, Dhruva what the Lord told him. As soon as the hermit heard this, he danced in joy. Dhruva was surprised. He was expecting that the hermit would be mad at Dhruva and at Lord Vishnu. Puzzled, Dhruva asked the hermit the reason for his happiness. The hermit said that the Lord’s words give him an assurance that he would be alive for those many years and would certainly attain liberation. The hermit said, “If the Lord Himself has said so, there is no doubt it will happen”. You are struggling now, but auspiciousness will soon come to you because the Lord has said so. We have to experience our karma, there is no escape. If the Lord himself stated the number of years it would take the old hermit to attain liberation, those words had to be true.
Develop the bhajan group here in Houston. Develop this center. Work together. No one is big or small. All are one family. You are all passengers in the boat of Sachchidananda in the big ocean of life.
Bhajan: nāv cal paḍī
You are all caught up in illusion. In this turbulent ocean of life, if you sit calmly in the boat of Sachchidananda, the Guru who is the captain of this boat will take you forward. This worldly life is a big ocean. We forget everything when we are in this ocean. So much illusion envelops us. We forget everything – sometimes even Swamiji. That is the power of this ocean of samsara. Therefore, stay balanced always. Whatever happiness or sorrow, afflictions or confusions come to you, always chant a mantra. Keep chanting, “om ayim hrīm śrīm klīm” silently with your breath. This is your Upadesa. Do not chant aloud. This mantra is very good for you. It is great for your health. In this evening’s concert too, you will hear Nada for good health and knowledge. There are many wonderful melodies. Do not miss.